Главная Russian Academy of Sciences on the way of changes
Russian Academy of Sciences on the way of changes Печать E-mail

Russia experiences a difficult period of conversion from the plan (within the scales of the Government) conduct of economy to market relationships when they are built between enterprises on the basis of the needs dependent upon financial possibilities.

This conversion touched upon all branches of national economy and was accompanied by breaking habitual connections between the branches and separate enterprises, the transformation of the notions of the role of the Government, juridical and physical persons.

The Russian Academy of Sciences (further, also RAS or the Academy) as part of the common state system has not avoided changes. During the years of the reorganization, Russian science as a group of six state academies, has sustained considerable losses, caused, first of all, by the insufficient financing of science, the impossibility to provide it with modern appliances and equipment and, what is more important, by the reduction of the number of co-workers and the increase of their middle age. The branch science which role was to lead the innovation suggestions of fundamental science to the stage of realization has suffered to a greater degree. Private corporations did not want to invest large money into the extension of the raw materials base and the creation of modern high-effective productions, because the expenditures and risks were considerable and the laws could change at any moment as far as the re-partition of the state property changed. The new owners got the common state heritage difficult to estimate in the form of prepared for realization technologies practically free of charge. It became one of the reasons for the birth of a small group of oligarchs, on the one hand, and the army of people leading a more than moderate lifestyle, living from wage to wage or from pension to pension, on the other hand.

The Russian Academy of Sciences as the main driving force of the development of the fundamental bases of science, has acquired with its results a high authority not only in its own country, but in the whole world, too.

It was established according to the order of the Emperor Peter I by the Decree of the governing Senate from 28 January (8 February) 1724 and re-created by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation from 21 November 1991 as a highly scientific institution of Russia and it is so, in fact. On the territory of the Russian Federation, the Russian Academy of Sciences is an assignee of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. The activity of RAS is regulated by the legislation of the Russian Federation and the Charter of RAS.

After making changes into the federal law from 23.08.96 № 127-FL “On Science and the State and Technical Policy” last year, it was necessary for RAS to pass at the Common assembly of RAS a new Charter of RAS which corresponds to the changed law and the legislation of the Russian Federation, in general. For reference: the Common assembly is the superior management body of RAS and consists of the valid members and correspondent members of RAS, as well as of the research assistants of the organizations dependent upon RAS, delegated by these organizations for the period of time from 1 to 5 years according to the quotes established by the Presidium of RAS.

According to the errand of the Chairman of the Government of the RF M.Y.Fradkov, RAS worked out and prepared the draft of the Charter of RAS (the chairman of the Charter commission of RAS is Y.A.Osipian). In the process of the development of the draft of the Charter of RAS, the suggestions the Charter commission of RAS had received from the departments of RAS, the members of the Academy of Sciences and the scientific organizations of RAS, were taken into account. The draft document was submitted for consideration to the Presidium of RAS and for co-ordination to six profile ministries.

The model charter for the state academies of sciences is prepared, at the same time, by the agencies of the executive power (the main regulations of this document were offered by the Ministry of Education and Science of the RF). Its development is carried out at the expense of breaking the valid Charter of RAS and without a corresponding errand of the Government of the RF. It caused a conflict between RAS and the official apparatus of the executive power. The point of the conflict is in the different understanding of the role of science and in the officials’ aspiration to take authority over science, its material values and territories belonging to the departments of RAS. Namely, it is planned to establish a non-professional observation council consisting of the members of the State Duma of the RF, the Administration of the President of the RF and other state instances, as well as to make a mythical board of directors which will not be elected at the Common assembly, but appointed.

The council of directors of the institutes of RAS, having over 400 first supervisors, pointed out in one of its latest decisions from 01.03.07: “It is not a secret for anybody that in the Russian State a thick layer of official nomenclature has formed, which is class hostile to science and to RAS, in particular. There has arisen an impression that officials are not interested in the prosperity of the State at all and strive for the destruction of science. An ally for the Russian Academy of Sciences is only the superior authority of the country to which one does not always manage to make one’s way through this layer of officials. Nowadays, not only science, but also all kinds of culture and art are being intensively destroyed. Everything has a commercial base.

There has arisen a mythology that all fundamental science should be estimated from the point of view of the market mechanism, but science is science, and it is the source of knowledge for the society, and no criteria of the market economy are applicable to either science or art. Branch science is neglected and destroyed. The law on independent organizations passed is a tendency to break the academic community. The last stronghold of science which is able to resist this massed attack, not for a while yet, is the Russian Academy of Sciences. It managed to hold out just because it had been collected into a single organization and can counteract the “weapon” launched into its environment only if it remains monolithic. It is necessary for the whole scientific community to realize that now, the class struggle of the scientific community with the official world is going on. At the same time, the representatives of this world can be very pleasant people, but the class point of the pressure does not change due to it. ”

In its draft charter, the Academy disputes the following thesis: “From the point of view of the legal characteristics, now, the Russian Academy of Sciences is not a state institution, but a non-commercial organization, created in the form of a state academy financed from the state budget. Hence, RAS, as any organization, has the right for a certain independent activity and the achievement of financial results, which can be used in the form of financial profit for the charter goals of RAS. ”

One of the difficult questions for the co-ordination of a single opinion was the question about the age limits of the participation of scientists in the steering bodies of the Presidium of RAS, the departments of RAS, institutes and other subunits. The age planks 70 and 65 years were offered, irrespective of the time of their election and the appointment to a corresponding position. Nevertheless, the introduction of the present amendment contradicts the existing legislation of the RF and requires additional regulation at the level of the legislative power of the country. The solution of the question about the establishment of an age qualification was a subject for discussion at the Departments of RAS and at the Common Assembly of RAS.

At the sitting on 1 March 2007, the Council of directors of the institutes of RAS noticed: “The most awful thing today is that in the Russian Federation, in accelerated order, attempts to drag new amendments to the Law on science are made. Four new amendments had already been considered at the Council, two of them were refused immediately, the other two were discussed. During the examination of the document, it was found out that the whole phrases had been taken from the papers prepared by the “Open Economy” fund, which got financing for the preparation of the Model charter. At the same time, an amendment to the Budget Code was considered. According to this amendment, academic institutes will be prohibited to take up commercial activity, though everywhere, they say over and over again about innovations, the economy of knowledge, the liquidation of dependency upon oil and gas in economy and the advancement, RAS is not allowed to deal with economic agreements, is not given money for innovation activity, that is why, it is not clear who will lead Russia to the light economy of knowledge. Some more documents are being prepared, which they hurry to approve before the establishment of the Charter of RAS. The level of knowledge of the officials managing science, can be clearly seen in the document “Middle-Term Programme of Fundamental Researches”. The document contains the main trends of applied works: “Struggle with Terrorism”, “Roads”, “Transport”, “Power Engineering” and others. All fundamental science had been divided according to these trends. Logic, topology, algebra and mathematical physics were put down into the trend “Struggle with Terrorism”. Nuclear physics and plasma -into “Power Engineering”, and all astrophysical researches – into “Transport”. Why into “Transport”? It turns out that there are roads, railways, airways and space transport. If there is space transport, then this trend implies the research of “black holes”, astrophysics, dark matter and so on. If one follows the policy of the Ministry of Education and Science of the RF, one can imagine what we go to”.

According to the new draft charter of RAS, it has the right to create dependent organizations, including those of social service and scientific and auxiliary, educational and innovation structures and others. The organization and legal forms of such organizations are defined by the Presidium of RAS and their charters. In correspondence with Clause 72 of the draft charter, RAS implements the rights of ownership, use and disposal of the property being in federal possession given to it, in correspondence with the legislation of the Russian Federation, the Federal Law “On Science and the State Scientific and Technical Policy ” and the preset Charter, including the right for the creation, reorganization and liquidation of the organizations dependent upon RAS, the assignment of the federal property to them, as well as with the right for the establishment of the charters of the dependent organizations and the appointment of their chiefs. The powers of the owner of the property (ownership, use and disposal) being in federal possession, are assigned to the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Academy, in correspondence with the legislation of the Russian Federation, implements the management of the federal property given to it, in full volume. The financing of the Russian Academy of Sciences, despite it is not an institution, is strictly defined by Clauses 63 and 79 of this document. That is, the financing of RAS is built in the same way as that of budget organizations and consists of two parts: financing according to the estimation and financing of different programmes.

For reference: we take the 50th place on the financing of research assistants. Taking into account all expenditures, the financing of one research assistant in Russia is 6000-7000 $ per year, in the USA – 200000 $ and in Europe – 150000 $. According to some expert estimations, Russian science takes the 6th place in the world on its effectiveness, according to some other estimations, it is the 4th place. Despite the catastrophic reduction of the financing of fundamental science during the last 15 years, Russia goes into the eight best indices in the world on the number of Nobel prizes. One of the reasons for such a high position of Russian fundamental science, concentrated, mainly, in RAS, is the positive experience of the almost 300-year history of the democratic organization of RAS. The Academy is the prime of Russia and it can define the scientific trends of the activity of Russia. It is well known that RAS solved not only the tasks of the generation of knowledge about science and the society, but also the tasks of the creation of new technologies, new machinery, the industrialization of the country, the strengthening of defensive capability and so on.

The Common Assembly of RAS was held on 27-28 March 2007. The programme of work included the establishment of the Report on the activity of RAS in 2006, the investiture of the laureates of the Lomonosov Great Golden Medal of RAS with medals and diplomas and the investiture of outstanding scientists with golden medals, according to the results of the year 2006, the scientific reports of the laureates, as well as the approval of the new charter of RAS.

It goes without saying that it is impossible to cover in a short article the results of the work of the Common Assembly of RAS in full measure. Nevertheless, I would like to touch upon some interesting, from the point of view of the author, data concerning RAS and its regional department – the Kola Scientific Center of RAS.

The total number of those working in the scientific organizations of RAS (in brackets there are data for KSC RAS) had amounted to 104236 people (1664) by 31 December 2006, including research assistants – 51908 (650), in comparison with the corresponding data of 2005 – 112633 (1837) and 55533 (689). The number reduction is connected with the implementation of the decision of the Government of the RF from 22 April 1996 № 236 “On the Realization in 2006-2008 of the Pilot Project of the Improvement of the System of Work Payment of the Research Assistants and Chiefs of the Scientific Institutions and the Research Assistants of the Research Centers of RAS”. The number of the members of RAS is 1225 people, 496 (3) of them are academicians and 729 (2) – correspondent-members. The number of doctors of sciences is 9891 (105) and the number of candidates of sciences is 24975 (296) people.

Among the most important achievements of the Academy, 25 works, carried out by the scientists of KSC RAS, are mentioned in the report on the activity of RAS in 2006, including the works of the Chemistry, Geological and Murmansk Sea Biological Institutes, five of each. The innovation and innovation and technology centers, including the technology transfer center in the city of Apatity, which had been created before, successfully continued their activity. Within the frameworks of the innovation activity, the connections of the institutes of KSC RAS with the industrial enterprises of the Murmansk region and of other regions of the country are constantly expanding and strengthening. In 2006, the main form of the support of the commercialization of the research results of the institutes of RAS, in correspondence with the agreement between RAS and the Fund of assistance to the development of the small forms of enterprises in the scientific and technical sphere, became the Fund’s programme “Start-2007”. The present Fund also finances several developments made in KSC RAS. The protection of intellectual property is at the high level in KSC RAS. It has 16 of 419 invention patents of the RF, received by RAS in 2006.

The development of fundamental science and education is considered by the country’s authority to be one of the strategic national priorities of Russia, together with the increase of the life quality of the population, the achievement of economic grow, the development of culture, the provision of the country’s defense and security. They connect the increase of the quality of education in Russia with the increase of the role of RAS, following. The Academy provides the co-operation of academic science with the educational process in higher educational institutions. RAS has a large network of educational and research centers and base departments in the system of its institutes, a post-graduate institution, being the source of the increase of the young high-qualified personnel. What has been said, refers, in full measure, to the institutes of KSC RAS supervising higher educational institutions in our region

The institutes of KSC RAS take an active part in the implementation of federal and regional target programmes, as well as the programmes of the Presidium of RAS and its departments, the Russian fund of fundamental researches. All the projects which are being carried out, and their number increases 100, are connected with the priority trends of the development of science and technology and the solution of the problems of the social and economic development of the regions.

The draft of the new charter considered on the second day of the work of the Common Assembly of RAS, caused an active discussion and the comparison of the model charter of the Ministry of Education and Science and the draft of RAS. By the way, there were few remarks on the draft Charter at the meeting itself, as before the beginning of the Common Assembly of RAS, the Charter commission had actively worked out many hundreds of remarks and suggestions, having co-ordinated them with the acting legislation of the RF. The present draft Charter of RAS was called by the Nobel Prize laureate, the academician Z. I. Alferov, the Constitution of Russian science.

The voting on the draft Charter of RAS was practically unanimous, only one of the participants of the Common Assembly of RAS abstained. The Academy demonstrated its monolithic character irrespective of different opinions on non-principal questions. So, is the Charter’s destiny made or broken? It is still impossible to answer, as the Charter is submitted to the Government of the RF for co-ordination. The Academy is not in the state of a passive expectation for the Government’s decision, it works for the good of its country and people.

Anatoly Nikolaev

Member of the Common Assembly of RAS,
d.t.s., professor, laureate of the State Prize of the RF
in the sphere of science and technology

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